You anoint my head with oil


I’ve been reflecting on this for a little while, in Psalm 23 the Psalmist says, “You anoint my head with oil.”

Surely it’s a good thing, but I have no reference to compare this to. Even thinking this is an ancient custom concerning kings, I’m not able to connect the imagery of this anointing with contemporary Christian living.

What does that line in the psalm mean to you & how do you visualize/realize that anointing in your life?


The anointing of the head with Chrism at Confirmation and Baptism.



Also, olive oil was used to soothe and heal wounds. Imagine a sheep who wandered away and was injured. A gentle shepherd would pour oil into the the wounds.


I think of the times in the OT when someone such as Saul or David was anointed to show they were God’s chosen one. It means God chose me, I’m special to him.


I got oil here. What kind do ya want.


AGGHAGHHHHHH. Not the EO response!!


This stuff smells sooo good :relieved:


Yes, and the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 poured oil and wine onto the man’s wounds.

It was the custom of hospitality at that time to annoint your guests’ heads with oil when entering the home. They lived in a dry, dusty land…oil was invigorating and soothing to the skin. In Luke 7 Jesus rebukes Simon the Pharisee for not offering him oil while praising the sinful woman who instead annoints his feet and washes them with her tears.

Oil was used for so many purposes…cleaning, perfume, healing, refreshment, sunscreen, moisturizing, sacrifice, and setting apart as holy for the Lord.

Oil was part of the necessaries of life…for cooking and making bread and lighting the lamps in the house, oil was used for everything.

To be full of joy in the Lord was said to be annointed with “the oil of gladness.” Being annointed with oil is a sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit in our Confirmation.

In ancient Israel, to not annoint yourself was a sign of mourning and grief. Instead of the oil, mourners would throw dusty ashes on themselves. Even the dead were annointed with perfumed oils for their burial, just like Jesus.

So in Psalm 23, God annoints our heads with oil to show His delight in us and His intimate care for us, just like a Shepherd shows care for His sheep. We are annointed and set apart for His use, holy temples of the Lord. It’s a symbol of His healing and comforting Holy Spirit.

Interesting link to uses of oil in Ancient Israel


Yup. When the Israelites wanted a king of their own instead of judges to rule over them, God relented and gave them one. Their first king was Saul. When the high priest, Samuel found him, he anointed him with oil, that he was the chosen one of God. He would be taking care of God’s own people.

We take this principle into the New Covenant. By our acceptance of Jesus in our Baptism, as our King, we are the chosen ones of God, His very own.


So we are kings?

I saw a movie where Samuel anointed Saul. He poured oil on his head & it ran down both sides of Saul’ s face. I thought that looked rather uncomfortable. I can’t imagine someone liking that, or desir8ng that. If I were his enemy, I’d laugh.

I don’t see the dignity in it.

Baptism I get. Ceremonial washing… it makes sense. Coronation, I could see. But pouring oil on someone’s head. & then the comparison to healing the wounded or preparing the dead doesn’t make sense. At least I don’t get it.


I’m sure many of the customs of ancient peoples don’t make sense in our society. You think oil on the head is bad, can you imagine making God happy by killing a fairly large animal on his altar, dumping or spraying the blood all around in a certain way, then burning all or part of the carcass? Can you imagine doing this daily? I bet it looked like the shower scene from Psycho and that by our standards today, it smelled somewhere between a cookout and a crematorium. Yet that’s what they did.

Oil was expensive. It felt nice and smelled good. Think of how we put conditioner on our hair nowadays. It’s the same idea.
These people lived in the desert. It was extremely dry. Oil, a moisturizer, was a luxury item when placed on the body, since it could also be used for food and food wasn’t exactly plentiful out in the desert either.

The actual anointing probably didn’t look like whatever movie you saw.



We are # Prophetic, Priestly, & Kingly people.


I heard a non-denom pastor connect this verse with the overflowing cup mentioned and linking it all to hospitality.


Yes, that’s how I have always thought of it - a symbol of welcome and acceptance.

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